Benefits of gardening with young children with sensory challenges

Gardening is a great way for children to get the sensory input their bodies crave.

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You can’t deny all of the input you receive from being outside, digging in the dirt, (barefoot if you are related to me and my children.)

I made sure to really understand and learn from the occupational therapists about the children’s different sensory needs.

Before Miss H and EBEs diagnosis’s I didn’t understand the term; sensory seeker, undersensitive, hypersensitive, avoider, just to name a few.

But I’ve made it a priority to learn, to take notes, to ask when something isn’t working.

Anyways I am a firm believer that we do need to go back to our roots sometimes.  No you don’t need to throw out your WiFi router, or toss your computer.  But, we’ve become a society obsessed with labels, obsessed with quick fixes, overly medicated, instead of making maybe a few life changes.

This is my first big garden.  Most of it was started from seed.  It was back breaking labor, but I love seeing our progress.  I love being able to teach the kids about the importance of diet (because in our home it truly does make a difference with behaviors).

I love knowing how things were raised, no pesticides, truly organic food.

I don’t have enough this year so of course I still buy from the grocery store.

It not only teaches the importance of working hard for what we eat.  Being grateful, and not being wasteful as well.

The kids absolutely love it.

Usually they are barefoot, which I wholeheartedly support.  If you haven’t researched grounding and barefoot walking you should.  It’s pretty interesting.

I have a sensory seeker, and a sensory avoider, one loves to be barefoot and one doesn’t.

EBE is the sensory avoider.  Somehow after we had spent 30 minutes digging for potatoes he barely had dirt on his fingers and asked for it to be immediately washed off.

Miss H and I had dirt in our hair, up to our elbows and were barefoot.

EBE is the avoider, and Miss H is a sensory seeker.

Both were so excited to be picking their own food and were tasting it along the way.

EBE has a lot of food aversions, but even he was so thrilled at our garden finds that he happily ate some freshly pulled carrots.

There is so much value in teaching your kids about healthy diet choices, teaching them to grow their own food.

I know for our house food really affects the behaviors we see.  I can always tell if we’ve been a bit to relaxed on diet and snacks.

Have you noticed a change in your child with autism or sensory processing disorder depending on their diet?

I find that whole foods and non processed foods are the best way to go for us.  I tried gluten free, but it didn’t make a difference for us I didn’t see a noticeable change in behaviors like I do with whole, natural foods, and lots of water.

Thank you for reading!

Danielle

 

Autism and Essential Oils

Let’s first chat about Autism.

Maybe  you are familiar.  Maybe like myself you have one or two sensory kids in your household.

Maybe you are waiting on a diagnosis (I know the waiting can be awful)

Maybe you’ve had a child on the spectrum for years.

There is a misconception about Autism.  I know for me when I tell people my kids are on the spectrum I usually get some asinine comment.

You would never guess my kids have autism upon meeting them or seeing them.

Autism is a blanket diagnosis now, but they fall into the “higher functioning category”

Miss H actually has a severe autism diagnosis, but there are so many different things that played into that diagnosis.  She’s actually outgrown most all of the behaviors we saw when she was younger.  Now she just has different behaviors.

That’s not to downplay the time and hard work we have all put in as a family.

To an outsider you would see two typical kids ages 4 and 5.

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But they have their struggles.  We have our days with repetitive behavior, meltdowns, and zoning out.

Since my son was born he was a difficult baby.  He never slept (still has his nights)  He had so many issues with constipation.  At one point I took him to the doctor for 21 days of constipation.

That’s when I started researching diet, exercise, and oils.

It wasn’t until much later that I really started using oils consistently with the kids.

We went through phases where the kids would just eat horribly.  Goldfish, graham crackers.  Milk.  But having kids a year apart, being an exhausted mom I was just doing the best I knew how.

Once we really stepped back and researched the effects of diet and exercise everything changed for us.

We changed their diet.  We have always limited screen time.  And we started encouraging them to workout with us.  Use their obsessive behaviors for overall health.

Now oils.  I know some people think its hocus pocus.

I know others that truly believe in their ability to aid with behaviors associated with Autism.  I’m a believer.  I’d much rather try an oil potion than medication, but that’s just me.

Oils will never cure a child of Autism.  But they do have the ability to give an overly anxious child feelings of calm and peace.  They have the ability to increase mental clarity and focus.

They have a way of balancing out emotions.

If you know much about autism you know that often times studies discuss the effects of gut health.

I cannot stress enough how important gut health is speaking for my own kids.

Once we seemed to find a balance using diet, essential oils, and exercise we have noticed an amazing transformation in our kids.

Less meltdowns, more focus, less anxiety, and to be honest they love joining in with the mixing of potions.

If I had to choose three oils that we use consistently in our house they would be:

  • Lavender
  • TummyGize
  • Peppermint

If you have a sensory kid you probably know the struggle with going to the bathroom.  I rub TummyGize on their stomachs and feet as needed.

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Lavender is amazing.  I usually put it in our homemade playdough and pull that out after an overstimulating outing to help calm their senses.

Peppermint diluted with fractionated coconut oil is the perfect way to bring down a fever naturally.

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Those are only a few that I use consistently around here.  I love everything about Young Living.  I love that there is a way for me to help the kids feel regulated.  We don’t use labels in our house.  To be honest they don’t even know what Autism is yet.

I will spend my mama life helping them through their struggles but providing them with all different tools to manage any struggles.

Autism is truly life through a different lens.

Thanks for reading!

Danielle

 

Let’s talk anxiety, depression, and tummy issues

Today I wanted to introduce myself.  Talk tummy issues.  Anxiety, depression, so let’s just dive in.

I have always been what I considered healthy.  I’ve lifted weights for years.  Practice yoga more days than not.  But I’ve always suffered from intermittent anxiety and depression. I also suffer from an autoimmune disorder that can wreak havoc on my body at any give moment.   Recently I’ve noticed my stomach always feels in some sort of knot.  My kids are not the best sleepers.  They have some different sensory challenges, and I feel like more mornings than not I wake up with just an overall feeling of exhaustion.  It’s hard to be motivated throughout the day when you’re struggling with inner health.

I felt like I needed a change.  I didn’t want to stumble through life always making excuses for the issues my body feels daily.

So I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Really give Young Living Essential Oils a chance.  See what their about.  I’ve always been skeptical of people selling things online.  But having recently just read

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

Book by Sam Quinones
I decided all the little things I’ve been feeling may actually have some truth to it.
When my youngest was diagnosed with Autism I was going through so much.  I felt alone, I felt like the unknown of her future was just too much for me to handle at that current moment.  I felt depressed.  I was exhausted.  My kids never slept in this phase.  SO I found myself seeking out my doctor where I found how simple it was to get a antidepressant/anti anxiety medication.
I remember the first day I took that pill how awful I felt.  I mean really awful.  I was sick to my stomach.  Falling asleep on the couch.  Things that were just not like me.  I felt like it had cut the edge of all the emotions I’d been facing and when I felt that I was ready to get off of it a year later I realized I had easily become physically addicted.  The withdrawls were painful.  The headache was unbearable.  So a few days later I started taking it again.
I really prayed about it.  And was so angry at myself for falling into the prescription drug trap so easily prescribed by doctors.
A month after my first attempt I decided to wean off my prescription.  You see nothing in my life had really changed.  My daughter of course still had autism.  I was still not getting any sleep, but I realized how dangerous it was getting for me to continue taking my prescribed antidepressant.  I didn’t want to walk through life numb.  And the withdrawls I faced were really unnerving.  SO I weaned off my pills for about two weeks and have never looked back.
I find that I still struggle from time to time, but that’s life right.  Nothing is perfect.  Moments are overwhelming.  God didn’t intend for us to be medicated through life.
So long story short!  I found myself truly giving oils a chance.  I fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils.  As cheesy as I feel sharing them with people I want them to see that there’s an alternative way to feeling healthy.
I started adding a drop or two of Lemon oil to my water first thing in the morning.  I noticed within 15 minutes of drinking it that knot in my stomach was gone.  So one glass turned to 3 a day.
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I noticed mental clarity.  I noticed that it encouraged me to make healthier choices throughout the day.
I cut out caffeine.  And preworkout.
Preworkout was probably the most difficult for me.  I’ve used it for years and years to get through my workouts.
So I decided to step out of my comfort zone one more time and try out Young Living Ningxia Red.  Once in the morning before my workout and once in the evening.
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I noticed an increase in energy but not a sloppy full feeling like a cup of coffee would give me.  Or a jittery tweaker high preworkout tends to give.  I won’t lie I did enjoy that extreme surge of energy.  But to be honest I don’t know half of the ingredients in any given preworkout I’ve purchased.
But with Ningxia Red by Young Living I noticed an increase in clean energy.
These are two of my favorite items for myself by Young Living.
If you are tired of feeling off.  Maybe you too struggle with stomach issues send me an email.
I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned.
americanhomesteadco@gmail.com
Instagram: americanhomesteadco
Danielle